Infections elicit immune adaptations to enable pathogen resistance and/or tolerance and are associated with compositional shifts of the intestinal microbiome. However, a comprehensive understanding of how infections with pathogens that exhibit distinct capability to spread and/or persist differentially change the microbiome, the underlying mechanisms, and the relative contribution of individual commensal species to immune cell adaptations is still lacking. Here, we discovered that mouse infection with a fast-spreading and persistent (but not a slow-spreading acute) isolate of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus induced large-scale microbiome shifts characterized by increased Verrucomicrobia and reduced Firmicute/Bacteroidetes ratio. Remarkably, the most profound microbiome changes occurred transiently after infection with the fast-spreading persistent isolate, were uncoupled from sustained viral loads, and were instead largely caused by CD8 T cell responses and/or CD8 T cell-induced anorexia. Among the taxa enriched by infection with the fast-spreading virus, Akkermansia muciniphila, broadly regarded as a beneficial commensal, bloomed upon starvation and in a CD8 T cell-dependent manner. Strikingly, oral administration of A. muciniphila suppressed selected effector features of CD8 T cells in the context of both infections. Our findings define unique microbiome differences after chronic versus acute viral infections and identify CD8 T cell responses and downstream anorexia as driver mechanisms of microbial dysbiosis after infection with a fast-spreading virus. Our data also highlight potential context-dependent effects of probiotics and suggest a model in which changes in host behavior and downstream microbiome dysbiosis may constitute a previously unrecognized negative feedback loop that contributes to CD8 T cell adaptations after infections with fast-spreading and/or persistent pathogens.
Keywords: Akkermansia; CD8 T cell; LCMV; anorexia; microbiome.